Links 5/10/2022

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Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.

–Yves

P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:

Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.

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How did 81-1 longshot Rich Strike win the Kentucky Derby? Watch this StarTribune (Chuck L). Time was still pretty fast, in the top 50 for the Derby historically. I noticed even in the NBC video (admittedly on a second viewing) that the jockey really had to maneuver Rich Strike at the top of the home stretch around a horse on the inside. This video shows him almost forcing his way between two horses a bit earlier. However, Rich Strike deserves full marks for having quite a kick in the last furlong.

Election 2022: Dogs at polling stations BBC (David L)

Minnesota briefs: First wolf pups of the season tagged by Voyageurs researchers StarTribune (Chuck L)

Millions of ‘Baby Blue Eyes’ Bloom in This Breathtaking Japanese Park Each Year MyModernMet (David L)

NASA Releases Ridiculously Sharp Webb Space Telescope Images Gizmodo. Kevin W: “Check out the before & after images.”

When Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King jammed blues for an inspiring session FarOut Magazine (David L)

The Dutch Tax Authority Was Felled by AI—What Comes Next? SpectrumIEEE (David L)

Baby food and autism — do the lawsuits and internet claims have merit? Skeptical Raptor (furzy)

Garbology: How to spot patterns in people’s waste BBC (Dr. Kevin)

Paging Dr. Ultrasound McGill (resilc)

It’s Not Too Late. You Can Boost Your Brainpower at Any Age. ConsumerReports (David L)

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

Transmission of infectious SARS-CoV-2 via fomites is possible but unlikely to occur in real-life scenarios, study concludes News-medical.net (Kevin W)

Climate/Environment

Coral reefs provide stunning images of a world under assault Associated Press (furzy)

Fertilizer turning Europe’s farms into massive reservoirs of microplastics New Atlas (David L)

Old Blighty

Government threatening to ditch Northern Ireland protocol unless EU backs down Independent (Kevin W)

Boris Johnson to force through new anti-protest curbs in Queen’s speech Guardian (Kevin W)

Labour gets a bloody nose in Tower Hamlets Counterfire (J-LS)

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka PM resigns, Rajapaksa family home burnt down amid clashes: 10 points Hindustan Times (J-LS)

Dictator’s son a front-runner as Filipinos elect next leader Associated Press (Kevin W)

New Not-So-Cold War

Delusional interpretations on both sides of the Russia-West divide Gilbert Doctorow

Leaks raise concern Ukraine will spill into US-Russia proxy war The Hill. I can’t even…

Commission weighs joint borrowing for Ukraine Politico (Kevin W). Note this comes despite evidence of yet more looting, like soldiers not being paid, families not getting death benefits.

EU drops plans to ban shipping Russian crude in face of opposition Financial Times

But Macron, EU to Push Orban to Drop Veto Threat on Russian Oil Ban Bloomberg

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Ukraine Alone Makes Biden The Worst US President In A Long Time Caitlin Johnstone (David L)

In shift, Democrats de-link Ukraine aid from COVID-19 money The Hill. And now $40 billion:

Democrats want to raise Biden’s Ukraine aid to nearly $40 Billion Responsible Statecraft. Resilc:

The entire State and Foreign Operations spending bill for the current budget year is $56.1 billion, just a smidge higher than what Congress may commit to addressing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in just under eight weeks.

I will be voting for one Green anti war IS senate candidate in NC

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CIA INEPTITUDE, RUSSIAN CAULDRONS AND THE UKRAINIAN MAFIA Larry Johnson (guurst)

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Vladimir Putin Address to Victory Parade on Red Square – May 9, 2022 – English Subtitles YouTube. Short, but if you are impatient, transcript here.

Putin’s calm, restrained Victory Day speech ‘left room for negotiations’ Global Times. Misses that the Donbass forces = DNR and LNR militias plus Chechens, with regular Russian army artillery support. In the speech, Putin acknowledged the Donbass militias and apparently some members were present.

March of the Immortal Regiment, St Petersburg, 2022: Impressions of a Participant Gilbert Doctorow. Read to the end.

Sky News Stops Interview With Russian Diplomat Over Mention of Zelensky Posting SS Symbol Sputnik. Rev Kev saw the clip which has apparently been yanked since. But it still lives on Twitter:

Note that Dmitry Polyanskiy in the clip above mentions a May 9 45 minute video by Scott Ritter on Finland. When I went looking on YouTube, all I could find is what looks like a hoisting/republication:
Scott Ritter – Ukraine, Finland and Nato, a Warning to the People of Finland . The YouTube search results say at the top: “These results may be new or changing quickly.” I’ve seen that in Google searches only when an article or post has been yanked recently. I believe the reason PayPal demonetized MintPress and Consortium News was that both gave Ritter a lot of play (for MintNews, multiple vids, for Consortium News, both original articles and IIRC, at least one interview on CNLive!). There is a highly distrubing must-listen section on the F-35A starting at 41:00. Oh, per Glen in Water Cooler, turns out original vid is on Bitchute.

Syraqistan

Dubai official criticizes ‘foolish’ US bill that targets OPEC nations The Cradle (guurst). We have lost our minds.

Saudi Arabia flexing its geopolitical oil power Asia Times

Wrong to the Core: The Supreme Court of Israel’s Ruling on Masafer Yatta Verfassungsblog (guurst)

Imperial Collapse Watch

William Astore, Must the U.S. Be Involved in Every War? TomDispatch

A Marine’s Story: Phil Klay’s Memories and Advice for a Nation Still Reeling from Afghanistan and Iraq Washington Monthly (resilc)

US Navy Stonewalls Congress In Working Ship Reports qCaptain (guurst). Subhead:

The US Navy has used a trail of misinformation to stonewall Congress and divert funding from working ships to naval aviation and expensive/sexy warships like the failed USS Zumwalt.

Why America is losing the ‘war by other means’ despite Big Tech, Hollywood and soft power-Opinion News Firstpost (J-LS)

Trump

The Surprising Backstory of How the Steele Dossier Was Created Wall Street Journal or https://archive.ph/9wF7B#selection-109.0-1095.24

Florida tilts toward Trump amid population growth The Hill

The Supremes

There are unconfirmed reports that a Supreme Court justice had to flee his home in light of the draft Roe v. Wade opinion Politico (furzy)

The Roe opinion and the case against the Supreme Court of the United States Vox

John Roberts Losing Internal Supreme Court Political Battles With Right Wing Esquire (furzy)

These Texas DAs Will Refuse to Prosecute Women if “Roe” Is Overturned Nation

Scooping the Supreme Court New Yorker (furzy)

The Fall of ‘Roe’ Would Put Big Tech in a Bind Wired (Dr. Kevin). Gee, they might have to make it possible to opt out of geolocating? But what about all those NSA/FBI back doors?

The Real Origins of the Religious Right Politico (furzy). Confirms my pet thesis, of organized feminists in the 1970s being guilty of not nailing down key rights, particularly to abortions, when they had the wind in their sails.

NYC’s Jewish museum bans DeSantis for having wrong opinions New York Post (furzy)

How Ron DeSantis is following in Viktor Orbán’s footsteps Vox (resilc)

Our No Longer Free Press

Police State Watch

U.S. police trainers with far-right ties are teaching hundreds of cops Reuters. Resilc: “Shocked! Shocked I am.”

Villages Told to Evacuate as New Mexico Wildfire Pushes North US News (David L)

Double Down! Doomberg. On MicroStrategy.

A Better Globalization Might Rise from Hyper-Globalization’s Ashes Project Syndicate (David L)

Fed Warns of Worsening Market Liquidity in Stability Report Bloomberg. Gee, ya think?

Class Warfare

Internet Providers Commit to Low-Income Broadband Program Under Infrastructure Law Wall Street Journal. The fact that this is happening only now….after remote schooling during Covid lockdowns, is a disgrace.

Nurses are not OK: Why they’re quitting their jobs, and what it means for the future of healthcare Grid News (resilc)

Antidote du jour (Cliff V):

And a bonus. Robert H is a big fan of this cat, which I take to be a young Maine Coon.

See yesterday’s Antidote du Jour and Links here.

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224 comments

  1. Samuel Conner

    Re: the wonderful image from the Webb telescope — it’s encouraging to know that there are engineers in US who can design and build complicated machines that work as advertised.

    Perhaps the people in Congress responsible for oversight of military procurement and sustainment should take note.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Where is the Anti-Web telescope that looks back on to the Earth located? With resolutions of that scale, keeping track of “undesirables” in the Homeland should be easy.
      Eye in the sky indeed!

      Reply
    2. BlakeFelix

      Ya, that’s some of the tastiest crow that I have ever eaten, I thought that they would screw it up almost for sure! Very pleased to be wrong!

      Reply
    3. Tim

      The main contractors for the Webb telescope are primarily defense contractors. In fairness, the Webb telescope was insanely late and over-budget, but there were so many unknowns that had to be solved going into the development after contract award the initial estimates were just wishful thinking. I’m glad NASA and congress was willing to see it through rather than killing it after billions in sunk cost.

      Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “Macron, Orban Discuss Energy as EU Presses for Sanctions Deal”

    Can’t really blame Hungary here. Some nations in the EU want a complete ban on Russian energy and need everybody to sign up and agree to it. But Hungary imports around 90% of its oil and natural gas, much of it from Russia, so naturally they want to know just what they are suppose to replace it with. The EU saying just trust us does not cut it and recent history gives them cause to doubt the word of the EU. It was not long ago that when the Pandemic hit that the richer EU nations grabbed as much of the medical supplies that their deep pockets could afford, leaving the smaller EU countries to swing in the wind. With only so many alternate energy supplies, it would become a bidding war and of course history would repeat itself and it would be the richer countries that would be buying it all up. So why would Hungary agree to burn the bridge with their major energy supplier just so the EU gets the privilege of feeling morally superior – as the lights go out.

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      Meanwhile, Reuters reports that another German gas company, VNG, has opened an account in Gazprombank, and states it’s trying to “continue to ensure supply and therefore economic stability in Germany”.

      Maybe the EU leadership will end up like Salazar, writing death sentences (for economy) in their palaces while the sane world around them will do, well, the sane thing.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’ve seen it suggested Euro politicians really believed there was magic on up supply they could simply call upon. Though I feel much of this is driven by not understanding where electricity comes from. They warned people about sweaters but are finding out their factories run on Russian fuel.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          I suspect the confusion comes from looking at the raw electricity figures. Germany actually uses very little natural gas for producing electricity (around 14% if I recall) – most of its natural gas is used in industry and in domestic heating and power.

          It is, however, very important for load balancing, even for those countries with relatively small numbers of gas turbine power plants. This is particularly an issue for Europe now as its facing a lot of nuclear outages as its aging plants are running out of spare parts (exacerbated by covid, is my guess).

          Reply
    2. Nikkikat

      West will take him down, Hungarian coup anyone? Next will be Brazil, they’ve already had experience with Brazil. Wonder where Elliott Abrams is slinking around these days?

      Reply
  3. kcp

    I haven’t been super plugged in lately – any good rundown of what’s happening in cryptoland right now?

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Gooooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

      The Unit was mostly sappers now, entrenching tranches and mining Bitcoin, and all was going well with no casualties, when slowly but surely the upper bottom of the Bitcoin value went missing out on patrol. We assumed our crypto corps had been ambushed by hackers-a fiat accompli, and for now losses were listed as MIA’s. (Money Investment AWOL)

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          …when you torture the words enough-they’ll say anything

          This era is an absurdist’s whet dream

          Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      crypto is held largely by whales, even more concentrated than stocks. when the whales exit, there isn’t enough liquidity to keep the price up.

      lots of big declines, see microstrategy., buy the dip? or preclude before the real storm? we’ll see in 3 months

      interesting articles floating around about how stable coins lost their pegs to the USD (like money market funds “breaking the buck” or 1997 Thai Baht”) and those coins had to sell crypto to defend their pegs

      Reply
      1. kcp

        So is this a concerted strategy by one or more whales, or is it a broader response to some other monetary or financial pressure? Or do you mean you don’t know in your middle section?

        Reply
    3. FreeMarketApologist

      BTC & ETH continue to be down significantly (40+%) y/y. Both (along with all their derivative tokens) continue to be a solution without a problem, except to solve for the case of ‘how to separate people from their money’. NFT markets are falling apart.

      Reply
    4. philnc

      Don’t just vote Green. If “they’re” disorganized and poor decision-makers, why not join them to help build a more effective party. All across the US many GP parties lost their ballot lines as the result of a redoubled effort by the establishment to eliminate them as competition. That “one Green anti-war US Senate candidate in NC” is former Marine and combat veteran Matthew Hoh, who resigned his State Department post in protest over the Obama surge in Afghanistan. If Matt is on the ballot to vote for in November it will be thanks to the tireless efforts of those “disorganized” Greens with “poor judgment” who have volunteered the last months gathering signatures and getting the word out despite a near total “progressive” media blackout.

      But it’s an uphill struggle, in its last couple of weeks, ultimately dependent on an electoral system controlled by the same duopoly that can’t stand to have dissenting voices in the media, debates, or even on the ballot. As Franklin said, we were given a Republic: it was up to us to keep it. Unfortunately, the “organized” with “good judgment” who were entrusted with that task turned out to be charlatans, thieves and psychopaths.

      Maybe its time to join (not just root for) a different team. Think about it: before it’s too late.

      Reply
    5. The Rev Kev

      I was actually thinking of issuing a BitCoin myself but one that would have an image of a Tulip on it – but I doubt that most people would get it and it could even become a runaway success story. Still, TulipCoin does have a ring to it and being a flower makes it sound “ecologically” friendly.

      Reply
    6. Failed Intellectual (Emeritus)

      Anecdotal on my end, but one sign of the crypto market sinking may be the increasing availability of higher-end graphics cards.

      Computer graphics cards (GPU’s), mostly used for playing graphics-intensive video games on PCs, also nowadays can double as more general purpose processing units. This has made them valuable as ‘mining’ hardware for a whole bunch of crypto coins, which in turn made graphics cards nearly impossible to get at retail this past two years. Anyone into PC gaming will know the pain in the ass it has been finding anything to buy, and even if you did find something the price was massively inflated over MSRP. A high end graphics card that might cost ~$1000 normally were going for ~$3000+ because it was profitable enough to buy them, stick them into a rig and mine cryptocoins; the graphics card would basically pay for itself after 6-8 months depending on how much you paid for the thing and your local electricity prices.

      What I’ve noticed lately is stock is actually more and more available to buy, in person or online, wheras the norm over the past two years was usually any stock becoming available would have been snapped up within minutes. And let me emphasize again, finding stock in store the past two years was nearly impossible: a friend of mine at this point last year spent 9 hours camping out in front of a Best Buy after an employee leak about stock coming in the next day – it was THAT crazy.

      Prices for GPUs, while still mostly above MSRP as set by Nvidia and AMD, haven’t been this low in ages.

      Reply
  4. Henry Moon Pie

    New Mexico fires–

    Winds of 60+ MPH carried embers more than 2 miles from the fire burning toward Chacon all the way to a different valley and the tiny village of Turquillo where the house we built is located. That fire is now burning north toward Guadalupita. While we sold that house 30 years ago, since we built it with our own hands, we anxiously wait to see if it survives. The adobe walls and 5V-crimp metal roof should help.

    Chacon, mentioned in the article, is a very high mountain valley. Locals say that it has only two seasons: winter and the 4th of July, and winters used to bring so much snow that large front-end loaders were required to scoop and stack the snow. Not only is the fire blocking the only exit from the valley other than walking up over an 11,000-foot high ridge, but the smoke is so thick that no one can see to drive.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I’ve seen photographs of old homes in the American SW that have these really thick adobe walls which really look great. I always thought that it was a matter of them being used for insulation to keep the heat of the day out as they are obviously so thick. But could it be that another purpose was to resist any fires that swept through where those houses are?

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        In that climate, adobe house walls act as passively regulated heat exchange units. From what I’ve read, the walls are thick enough to allow the heat of the day to migrate in and heat up the interior during the nights, which are cold there. The reverse happens during the day, the walls acting as passive cooling systems. Some wonder if perhaps this wasn’t also used in the great valley civilizations of the Indus and Twin Rivers systems in antiquity.

        Reply
      2. Kevin Walsh

        I was listening to the latest episode of the Anti-Empire podcast, about German colonisation of Africa this morning, and it was mentioned that Karl Peters’s troops had trouble burning down one African village where the houses were wooden with clay exteriors, and had to bring wood into the houses and set fires on the inside in order to burn them down.

        Reply
        1. Susan the other

          The houses that survived California’s campfire-fire were all stucco exteriors with metal roofs.

          Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      Circumnavigating the Sierra the other day, I was struck by how dry it was so soon-the hills tanned into a threatening bronze age firescape until the first rains of substance some six months from now, and there were mostly only rivulets of snow on high throughout the mighty eastern flank as seen from Olancha to Mammoth, in early May no less!

      The SoCalist movement has no idea what is about to hit them as far as lack of H20 is concerned, and there has been little effort put into voluntarily curtailing water use, as we’ve gotten used to ignoring official diktat.

      Add in what will likely be another horrific fire year where if we’re lucky, we get to be prisoners in the great indoors for a few months again, with the last couple of brand name conflagrations stopped within a few miles of both of our humanly haunts.

      Reply
    3. Carolinian

      I’ve been to Hermit’s Peak near Las Vegas, NM. Now all burned up? This is reportedly the biggest of the fires.

      Reply
      1. Solarjay

        It is not good.
        I can view from house.
        Much calmer winds today so maybe it’s not blowing the smoke hard east but allowing it to go more or less straight up where it’s more visible.
        The only hope of good news is it’s leaning towards the return to La Niña and good summer monsoon rains.
        Can only hope.

        Reply
  5. DJG, Reality Czar

    Ukraine Alone Makes Biden the Worst President.

    Hard to argue with Johnstone’s essay. Note: “How fast were we paced from “It’s Russian propaganda to call this a proxy war” to “Obviously this is a proxy war and we need to make sure we win”? Fast enough to make your head spin, that’s for sure.”

    Let’s call the behavior of the U.S. government what it is: Immorality on a grand scale. War-criminal level.

    Biden, Blinken, Nuland, and I could go on and on (Hillary!) want the same levels of destruction that the U.S. inflicted on Vietnam to be visited upon Ukraine. All the while, using pictures of blond kids to promote war.

    I’m with Resilc: Vote Green. Greens may be poor decision-makers. They may not be organized. But they haven’t sponsored an invasion (yet), and they are a viable alternative to the War Party (D and R divisions).

    Meawhile, Fatto Quotidiano in Italy is reporting resistance to U.S. pressure and to Stoltenberg’s smart-mouthing. Scholz and Macron are dissenting. The major Italian politicians are lining up behind the Pope–except for, how curious, Letta, the leader of the Democratic Party (sound familiar), even though there are now dissidents among that PD’s leaders.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      A few weeks ago, if you said that this was a proxy war you would have been labelled a conspiracy theorist. If you said that on a YouTube channel, you might have found yourself de-monetized or even banned. Now? They openly admit that this is a proxy war and boast about it. As one girl on Twitter said-

      ‘Being called a conspiracy theorist just isn’t the insult it used to be, because you’re likely going to be vindicated within 6 months.’

      https://twitter.com/MsBlaireWhite/status/1522959258375303169

      Only this time it only took about two months.

      Reply
      1. Bart Hansen

        Our great media is months behind because their only source of information is via reading each others’ hopeless narratives.

        For example, what was the number of months delay concerning covid being spread by aerosols?

        Reply
    2. Bugs

      The German Greens turned into hawks once they got real power. The French Greens jumped on the Zelinskyy train before practically anyone else. Not sure I trust that particular political current anymore.

      Reply
      1. european

        The German Greens did not turn into hawks once they got real power. They already were warmongers and deeply Russophobic before that.

        Reply
      2. Balakirev

        I can understand your resolve to never vote for either the French or German Greens, but I’m not sure how this applies in any way to the US Greens. I’ve voted for Stein and Hawkins in our last three presidential elections, and watched the dynamics of a few state-grown Green Parties over the last few years–and they were, without exception, organization-adverse, and genuinely Left on the issues they could agree were important. Not that there is unanimity of viewpoint within Camp Green. But most comments I’ve heard and others I’ve read from that quarter oppose both the economic and propaganda wars being waged by the Biden administration.

        I wouldn’t claim this represents all US Greens, but the recent blogs here are closer to this forum’s overall perspectives in several respects than most content I’ve seen elsewhere:

        https://gpax.gpus.org/

        Reply
    3. Carolinian

      You have appropriately dropped the “in a long time” although Caitlin does go there

      Allowing the world to come this close to nuclear war already makes Biden the worst US president since Bush. At least. History may well show his to be the single most depraved presidency of all time.

      To some of us it’s quite obvious that Biden has a screw loose and the thought is not “will he run in ’24” but “how do we get rid of this guy?” 25th amendment? But that would require his own scurvy crew to vote him out and they are as deranged as he is.

      Reply
    4. tgs

      I voted for Jill Stein in 2012 and 2016, but could not get behind Hawkins – who is a Russiagater – in 2020. Also, the GP nomination process was really sketchy in 2020.

      Reply
    5. a fax machine

      Hard to claim it as a Vietnam-level destruction when this ultimately ends with Ukraine entering the EU and NATO. Even though this is not the case now, it will be when Biden leaves office as by that point Russia will be so weak and Ukraine rebuilt enough to permit such an action.

      Let’s talk about reconstruction for a moment as this topic is of astounding, massive and imperative importance to every US war effort. The US failed to successfully do it in Vietnam but will do it in Ukraine. Prior to these events there was an active debate in Ukraine over western-spec or Russian-spec railroads. The latter usually won as it’s bigger and the economic flows to Russia greater. Not anymore with the war. Now it’s full blown Modernization where all the Russian-gauge track will be removed and economic ties forcibly severed for EU ones. This will take time but American (CIA!) contractors and German contractors are already in Ukraine doing the work with mobilized Ukrainian army engineers.

      The Americans have experience doing it successfully in Iraq (prior to ISIS bombing it, of course), the Germans have experience doing it in East Germany and Poland, and Ukrainians are willing to preform the work. The only remaining aspect becomes materials – the new Lend-Lease expedites this by creating a clear path for Ukraine to procure railroad signalling computers, fiber optic cables, power transformers, MOW equipment, locomotives and rolling stock. And inversely, Russia’s Friendship train Bridge is the primary military target for Ukrainian forces if they are able to attack it, as it would open up a Crimean campaign.

      Every mile of Russian-spec track removed is a permanent disconnection from the Russian economy and the Russian state. This is the long-term destruction of Russian influence in Ukraine and is why Russia will never succeed there. This is not a Vietnam situation, because there is a clear end goal and a clear victory state even if it takes a decade to construct. Even if Russia did still somehow manage to win Ukraine, all the infrastructure would be incompatible with Russia’s system. This makes the prospect of annexation very unlikely given the large cost of making everything work together.

      Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          My guess would be that if it’s not biting sarcasm, it was drawn from a cavity in the poster’s posterior.

          The US is good at reconstruction?!? Then please explain the starvation in the midst of a smoldering rubble pit that is Afghanistan.

          Reply
          1. a fax machine

            For clarity I didn’t suggest that the US was good at it, at least not alone. Plans to build Afghan railways failed because of the hard terrain, lack of external connections, and Bush’s refusal to sit down and negotiate it out with necessary third parties (namely Iran and Russia but failing that China and Pakistan; you can see why this failed). Iraq took the majority of resources allocated to this and success was found there, with Iraqi Railways obtaining computer-aided PTC signalling before any American railroad which is a scathing indictment of America’s domestic railroading business. And then ISIS blew much of it up. A very demoralizing situation for workers and GIs sent home to build PTC domestically.

            This is not the situation in Ukraine. American CIA (again, this >is< a CIA job, this is what backchannel influence is at it's best) and contractors have more experience, and are supplemented by German and Ukrainian engineers who have a vested interest in making such a project work. The "war bridge" (the MSM's term) set up by Germany's transport ministry can be considered a prototype of what's to come. Perhaps shared infrastructure standards will drive support for shared governance across the continent, as the EU moves towards Federalization. This was certainly how the USSR operated.

            Meanwhile on that other ocean China has won two major victories in the Solomon Islands and the Philippines without firing a shot. This is also based on promises of new infrastructure, industrialization, modernization and development the west refuses to provide although in a different manner. Contrast this with Putin's promise to de-industrialize Ukraine; one of these countries has a competent plan to compete with the west and one does not. I'm not going to pretend the Kremlin has a clue when Beijing is eating America's lunch, dinner and desert.

            Reply
            1. lyman alpha blob

              My understanding is that China delivers on its promises of cooperation (without even turning the countries it’s aiding into rubble first!), whereas the US does not. And when did the CIA suddenly get competent? And Putin is going to de-industrialize Ukraine? When did he ever say that? Yes, some non-military infrastructure has been destroyed, but then again the Ukrainian right wing dead-enders have been using that non-military infrastructure to fire at the Russians, as has been widely reported.

              If anyone is going to rebuild Ukraine, my guess is that it will by China in conjunction with Russia once NATO has been pushed to the side, in conjunction with China’s Belt and Road initiative.

              That project is the elephant in the room during this conflict that no one in the West wants to talk about. To me it seems quite clear that the US is afraid of being left out of an enormous trade deal uniting all of Eurasia even though *checks map* the US is not on the Eurasian continent, and they are doing everything in they can to stop it, clinging to some febrile vision of a US dominated unipolar world.

              Reply
            2. Field in Texas

              Well, thank you for those insights. I tend to agree with most of them. Not that I’m an expert.

              Reply
              1. tegnost

                even this?

                American CIA (again, this >is< a CIA job, this is what backchannel influence is at it's best)

                what is best about it?

                Reply
            3. Sibiryak

              a fax machine: Contrast this with Putin’s promise to de-industrialize Ukraine

              When did Putin promise to deindustrialize Ukraine? Please provide a link.

              While Putin has called for Ukraine’s demilitarization and denazification, he has, accurately or not, strongly deplored its deindustrialization:

              Ukraine used to possess great potential, which included powerful infrastructure, gas transportation system, advanced shipbuilding, aviation, rocket and instrument engineering industries, as well as world-class scientific, design and engineering schools. Taking over this legacy and declaring independence, Ukrainian leaders promised that the Ukrainian economy would be one of the leading ones and the standard of living would be among the best in Europe.

              Today, high-tech industrial giants that were once the pride of Ukraine and the entire Union are sinking. Engineering output has dropped by 42 per cent over ten years. The scale of deindustrialization and overall economic degradation is visible in Ukraine’s electricity production, which has seen a nearly two-time decrease in 30 years. Finally, according to IMF reports, in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Ukraine’s GDP per capita had been below USD 4 thousand. This is less than in the Republic of Albania, the Republic of Moldova, or unrecognized Kosovo. Nowadays, Ukraine is Europe’s poorest country.

              Who is to blame for this? Is it the people of Ukraine’s fault? Certainly not. It was the Ukrainian authorities who wasted and frittered away the achievements of many generations.

              Vladimir Putin “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians” July 12, 2021
              http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/66181

              Reply
          2. Skippy

            Must have missed all the rebuilding privatization scams going back to Bush Jr days, let alone blowing off the doors to the barn and allowing C-corps into the military food/bev, and other services at cost plus – increased admin costs and profit demands add at least 15% over the legacy system but hay … ***Markets****

            Reply
      1. Gregorio

        And it will all magically be paid off through “structural adjustment,” and everyone will live happily ever after.

        Reply
      2. lambert strether

        > American (CIA!) contractors and German contractors are already in Ukraine doing the work with mobilized Ukrainian army engineers

        Needs a link.

        Reply
    6. Big River Bandido

      Voting Green may be an option, if the party fields a candidate in your state. That nominee’s positions, and the party’s history in other countries…is hardly relevant since they would never win. The point is to register disgust at the polls with the Republican and Democrat party, which will never be able to explain away votes not cast for themselves.

      Reply
  6. PlutoniumKun

    Millions of ‘Baby Blue Eyes’ Bloom in This Breathtaking Japanese Park Each Year MyModernMet

    The photos are stunning, although the article implies that this is a semi-natural phenomenon. The Hitachi Park is actually on an old Imperial Japanese Air Force base, which was taken over by the US and used as a bombing range until the early 1970’s. Its probably stuffed with unexploded shells and boom era waste.

    Ironically (or maybe not ironically, I can never quite grasp the Japanese sense of irony), the flowers are nemophelia, which is a north American species. I can’t help thinking that putting a ‘blue eyed’ flower all over a former US military base is some sort of subtle message, I just can’t think what it might be.

    Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        That looks very beautiful. I once went for a swim in a pond in a rural area in southern France. Turned out it had been the tailing pond for a dye factory in the 19th Century, which became apparent when everyone got out of the water.

        I’ve seen many quarry lakes with water that colour – doing aerial surveys its a shorthand way to tell if the pond is from run-off, or from a high water table. In limestone areas, standing water can be an intensely bright blue. Its a very useful way to tell if limestone quarry owners have lied about excavating below the water table.

        Reply
        1. Michael

          My wife and I went to a small Cognac producer in 2009, Chateau de Beaulon, across the water from Pauillac. Mysterious and legendary blue springs, “Fontaines Bleues”, abutted the estate built in 1480. Beautiful.

          Reply
        2. Revenant

          What is the result of excavating below the water table? A non-blue pond, because it is phreatic rather than standing water? It’s good to learn….

          All the limestone in Fermanagh is covered in brown bog water!

          There are several red rivers in the world and most of them owe the name to mining. Red River in Cornwall is highly polluted mine drainings. Rio Tinto is, well, eponymous with Rio Tinto….

          Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            Yes, the water gets boggy really quickly if there is any vegetation around (same with Clare Turloughs). Its only in wide open limestone quarries that its obvious. I’m not sure what chemical(s) is responsible for it (presumably calcium carbonate), but the difference in the water colour between a settlement pond, a pond from perched water, and a groundwater fed pond looks very different in sunlight in aerial photos.

            Reply
      2. Ignacio

        They should try also culturing the blue mushroom Lactarius indigo, from the family Russu…laceae, not less. Shoud be renamed Putinlaceae?

        Reply
  7. anon

    On the Vox article re: abortion and the SC, didn’t Roe technically remove the question of abortion from the democratic process, while this ruling, if it turns out to be the final ruling, returns it there?

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, Congress could have passed legislation at any time. But feminist activists put undue faith in a decision that was pretty close to a handwave.

      Reply
      1. Chromex

        Again codification would be useless as any new federal law is subject of jurisdictional power attacks ( the law is not authorized under limited federal jurisdiction arguments, which, of course, would be bolstered by the overturning of Roe and the arguments made in that draft) and is also subject to amendment or repeal because no legislature can bind a future one.
        Moreover , people keep saying .. if the final opinion overturns Roe.. no… whatever the final opinion , the draft opinion indicates the vote to overturn. Roe has been overturned. Whatever opinion they release WILL overturn Roe.
        I am in favor of Roe but I see a lot of commentary that does not know how draft opinions in federal courts come to be.

        Reply
        1. Big River Bandido

          Legislation is hardly ever repealed in Congress, and the courts have greatly restricted field of play when interpreting confessional statute. They *can* invalidate federal laws, but its much riskier for them to do so and its much more rare. (Congress is by far a more powerful body). Usually the Court puts that energy into ensuring consistency between federal and state laws.

          Reply
    2. marym

      “As the 2022 state legislative sessions begin, lawmakers have already introduced more new restrictive voting legislation than at this time last year. They have also continued to introduce bills designed to undermine the electoral process.”
      02/09/2022 https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voting-laws-roundup-february-2022

      The “democratic process” – such as it is – is also at further risk. This is also due to the passive failure to pass laws to protect rights, and to the sustained effort to curtail them.

      Reply
  8. JohnM_inMN

    7:00 am rolled around this morning and like most weekday mornings, I tuned in to CBS for “your world in 90 seconds” to get a snippet of the latest accusations of Russian war atrocities. Today it was “Russia bombs shopping mall”, followed by a clip of Biden asking for more $millions$ for Ukraine. Then I scour NC links and other independent media sources looking, hoping for an explanation or debunking. This s**t is getting old and I’m kinda losing it here folks.

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      Well, the Russians did send a missile into a shopping mall and a warehouse. Named Rivera, I believe. The missile even came with multiple, huge secondary explosions that pretty much destroyed the building completely.

      First it was supersonic missiles, now it’s Ikea-busters. What’s next?

      Although, to cut some slack to the Russians, Ukrainians are claiming that it was a much less precise Soviet-era missile, used because Russians are finally running out of missiles. So according to Ukraine the Russians did not mean to hit the building that then exploded. And exploded. And exploded.

      Reply
      1. JohnM_inMN

        Thank you for the detail, PS. So much for the idea that the Russians are concentrating on military targets and taking care to avoid civilian infrastructure, I suppose.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          “Named Rivera” was a tell. The secondary explosions in a shopping mall is another tell. I don’t know the particulars, but “secondary explosions” wouldn’t be caused by a missile strike on a shopping mall. My mall doesn’t have anything that would cause secondary explosions. Does yours? An arms depot? Yes.

          Though the Soviet missile is the kind the Ukrainians have.

          In general, I wouldn’t believe anything on US msm outlets until the ban on propaganda is renewed. It’s like we are getting Voice of America stories directly now.

          Reply
          1. JohnM_inMN

            This is the sort of explanation I was hoping to read. It won’t be explored in MSM, but it’s still somewhat comforting. Thank you NotTG, JohnA, and the entire Nc community for keeping me sane.

            Reply
            1. Ignacio

              MN is Minnesota? I couldn’t access from Spain to the link that shows the new wolf puppies in the state :(

              Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          Yeah, I saw footage of that mall if that was the one bombed a few weeks ago. A Ukrainian rocket launcher was in action and instead of turning it to ash, the Russians had a drone follow it. It went back into that city and went into the parking bay for that building. You could see other launchers inside as the drone was filming it at an angle so the Russians bombed it as they knew that that building was not in use. Note too, if a military tries to use civilians and civilian buildings as a shield, that is know as an international war crime.

          Reply
          1. playon

            Don’t know about the Ukrainian army in general, but the Azov unit has been using civilians as shields for some time now. In Mariupol they set up artillery next to a kindergarten.

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              I guess that one country’s international war crimes is another country’s standard operational procedure. :)

              Reply
        3. OnceWereVirologist

          I think you’re missing the point that secondary explosions generally means that munitions are stored there. A cruise or ballistic missile with a 500 kg warhead will take a big chunk out of a mall or a warehouse but it won’t level it unless something explosive is stored there.

          Reply
        4. Putin’s Bot Farmer

          I do wish people would stop it with the disingenuous carping over the side they hate “targeting civilians.” It’s a war and war involves heavily armed entities killing each other, often with high explosives. When wars are fought in areas where people live and it is inevitable that non-combatants will be killed in the process.

          The killing of non-combatants is not a war crime, btw, if they are killed accidentally or in the process of hitting legitimate targets. Hence the much maligned term “collateral damage”. It’s only the deliberate targeting of non-combatants that is against the laws of war.

          Might also be worth noting that a civilian with a gun or a Molotov cocktail in an active combat area or in any way involved in actions against soldiers or military gear is no longer classified as a non-combatant and is fair game.

          If that all sounds rather gruesome it’s because war is rather gruesome. Focusing on one incident, that may or may not have happened as reported, and getting worked up about how horrible it is suggests there is such a thing as non-horrible war or that there exists a type of war in which only combatants are killed. That’s simply not the case. Neither is it the case that one side is made up of crazed war criminals while the other side are angels who would never ever commit a war crime.

          In a sane world we would be doing everything possible to prevent countries going to war in the first place. We would not, for example, encircle a country with offensive weaponry and try to isolate it from the rest of the world. Nor would we instigate scenarios that push said country into going to war and then fuel that war by arming the other side to the teeth, thereby actively prolonging and escalating the war, while pretending to care about civilian deaths. That’s just heinous behavior and staggeringly hypocritical. It’s like Iraq and Afghanistan never happened.

          Neither the west nor the vicious goons our dear leaders are arming in Ukraine have the moral authority to lecture anyone about war crimes or standards of civilized behavior.

          Reply
        5. Soredemos

          The mall was a military target. Ukraine loves to do this, converting civilian infrastructure into military use. Then they can either rely on the Russians being restrained and not bombing, which, contrary to the claims of genocide, is what happens so consistently that Ukraine can rely on it as part of their strategy (they literally have a term for it, something like ‘total territorial defense’. Here’s a WaPo (!) article that grudgingly acknowledges this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/28/ukraine-kyiv-russia-civilians/). Or they entice Russia into bombing, at which point they get propaganda points by claiming that evil Ivan is bombing cute babies.

          This isn’t even the first time they’ve used a mall. They used one during the Kiev fighting. Russia posted drone footage of a Ukrainian rocket launcher firing and fleeing back to the mall. Later some civilian uploaded a clear photo of Ukrainian artillery parked inside the mall (this civilian was apparently disappeared soon afterwards). And after it was bombed, most of the rest of the mall was destroyed by secondary explosions, removing any doubt that ammo was stored there. Probably lots of it.

          It was an abandoned mall, by the way, not in active use. I won’t be surprised if this new one also turns out to have been disused.

          War is always ugly, but Ukraine seems hellbent on bringing everything completely into the gutter. A Hollywood scriptwriter would blush at some of the stunts they keep pulling as too on the nose.

          Reply
        6. Lambert Strether

          > So much for the idea that the Russians are concentrating on military targets and taking care to avoid civilian infrastructure, I suppose.

          This is silly. Are Ukraine railroads running? Yes. Is there power? Yes. Is there water? Yes. Is there Internet? Yes. Is there radio and TV? Yes. How about airports and main roads? Functioning. If Russia really wanted to take out civilian infrastructure, none of that would be true. All of that would be demolished. The whinging on this issue makes me crazy.

          I should be more humane, but this is a war. It is a war that the United States planned for, provoked, and is prolonging (in the hope that, Afghanistan-like, it persists for years and bleeds Russia. (Ukraine, as such, has no strategic value to us whatever, as even Obama understood.) If the United States were really concerned about civilian casualties — the babies!!!! — it would bring the war to a halt, which it has and has always had the power to do.

          Reply
      2. JohnA

        The secondary explosions were the arms and ammunition etc., Ukraine had stored in the shopping mall. It was a similar story in Kiev a few weeks ago.

        Reply
      3. The Rev Kev

        I also saw a video that supposedly shows a hotel in Odessa that had been slammed by three Russian missiles. The story is that there were mercenaries in it to operate M777 Howtizers on the front-line but don’t know how you could verify such a report. The buildings though were thoroughly wrecked.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Curious that. I have it from locals who have dealings with the Army Training Site just south of us, Camp Shelby, that various Eastern European soldiers, including Ukrainians, have been trained there on NATO tanks and artillery for several years already. This has been a continuing process. Saw a few people from the Mountain Division here last month training. (The ‘grunts’ shop at the local stores in uniform. Though they now leave off unit insignia patches, they keep on their specialty badges and non-official stuff. One said, plain as day, Mountain Division. As far as I know, there is only one Mountain Division in the US Army.)
          America’s military involvement with non-NATO countries goes back a ways.

          Reply
      4. Kouros

        Ukrainians were playing hide and seek with some rocket launcher trucks coming and going in the underground parking of that mall… lots of footage available.

        Same as the train station in unoccupied Ukraine hit not by a Russian missile but by a Ukrainian missile, and killing over 30 people…

        Reply
      5. Yves Smith Post author

        Early on in the war, the Russians did hit a shopping mall being used for weapons storage and training. The Ukies have a certain fondness for carrying on military activities in civilian infrastructure and then charging the Russians with heinous conduct.

        Not much different than killing your parents and asking for sympathy as an orphan.

        Reply
    2. Nikkikat

      Yahoo news was full of stories on the inept Russians: their planes have no GPS except for little boxes taped to their dash boards, none of their missiles work and Putin is a lying liar because of his speech. Oh, and some commentary by Hilary about how he has gone insane. He and his oligarchs have stole so much of Russia’s money that they have no money left for the military. Lol

      Reply
  9. Alyosha

    Re metals in baby food, the first federal asbestos law applied to schools and the reasoning was that contaminants with a long latency period are especially dangerous to children. I can’t speak to any links between autism and heavy metals, but of course there are multiple developmental issues associated with heavy metal exposure.

    Unfortunately, many of the limits of exposure or even recommendations for contaminants are based on best guesses rather than significant studies.

    Reply
    1. amechania

      Dealing with an autistic kid, it is hard to get them off of baby food, because of their sensory issues and obsession with routine.

      To this day there are at most 10 foods he will eat, and one of them is baby food. Half of the rest are some form of bread. Even with fruits and vegetables is probably 25% of what he eats, but I think it is just a social influence that causes parents to associate baby food and autism. (not that I’ve heard that theory independent of the internet IRL)

      Not knowing what really causes it isn’t easy. If you don’t pick something to blame for it then you tend to blame yourself.

      Althought the genetic links for autism are getting better understood, environmenal causes remain surprisingly poorly researched.

      Reply
    2. Chas

      Shopping at the supermarket yesterday I stopped in front of the baby formula section. It was somewhat depleted, but what struck me is that baby formula is no longer just a substitute for mothers’ milk. Now there are special formulations for “fussy” babies and by another corporation for “crying” babies. I didn’t have time to check the ingredients to see what’s being added.

      Reply
        1. playon

          It soothes them when they are teething, but of course you have to be careful with the dosage. Many drugs have been demonized in the last 100 years but opium does have medical uses.

          Reply
        1. Revenant

          It did not really seem worthy if comment, another decadent image in the cavalcade, but Boris Johnson recently hosted the Japanese Prone Minister to celebrate a free trade deal to open British markets to… Fukushima popcorn. We have taken back control and torn down barriers to radionuclide trade. Three armed cheers for BoJo!

          Reply
    3. Stick'em

      Re: heavy metal baby food and autism

      The underlying issue is autism isn’t “one thing.” Just like mental retardation isn’t “one thing.”

      For example, growing up I had two friends who had the label “mental retardation” because when they took an IQ test, they scored below 70. That’s the definition of MR in a pediatrics clinic. Anyway, one friend, called Patrick, had been hit in the head with a brick as a child by one of the neighbors. He was normal cognitively until the trauma. The other friend called Allison was born with Down syndrome. She has an extra chromosome 21. The point is this clinical description “MR” had two different etiologies. One definitively environmental (head trauma) and the other definitively genetic (trisomy 21).

      Autism is like this as well. My wife and I work with autistic children. I got a degree in genetics. So I have seen many kids with Fragile X, a cause of autism in males. She has seen kids from Romania who were orphaned in infancy. These children were placed in cribs with no physical attention during infancy. Someone would change their diapers and feed them, but nobody played with them or held them. They display autism due to lack of socialization. The point is the clinical label “autism spectrum disorders” can describe someone with a known genetic disorder, such as Fragile X, as well as someone with a known environmental deficiency, known as stimulation deprivation.

      Therefore, anyone and everyone who claims to know THE cause of autism is talking out of their ass like Jim Carrey. There is no one cause. There are many different causes because there are many different forms of autism which fall under the umbrella term “autism spectrum disorders.”

      There are many causes of autism. It’s a multifactorial condition. Some defined etiologies are known and some putative etiologies (like vaccines) are nonsense. Hope this is clear enough to not start the usual flame war one sees on the internet. Seems doubtful, but this is a firsthand explanation from a pair of “experts” who have worked in the field for a combined 50 years.

      Reply
  10. digi_owl

    Ritter’s talk about the F-35A got me thinking of the F-104.

    In recent years some declassified cold war documents showed the there are hangars in Norway, blasted out of the bedrock, where F-104s were stored. This with the thinking that they would provide a second strike capability by sitting out the initial exchange of nukes and then make a one way trip into Russia to drop their payload.

    This was all hush hush to the extreme, because Norway was officially opposed to housing nukes of any kind. So how they would get to Norway arm the planes in case of a massive first strike i’m not sure.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      So far as I’m aware the Norwegians never used the F-104. The nuclear sharing agreement among Nato countries didn’t include Norway. The F-104 of course was the F-35 of its day, a totally useless fighter that was more of a threat to its own pilots than the Soviets.

      I’m sure there could have been fall back proposals like that, although I don’t really see why they would have been located in Norway – its a long way from Norway to any strategic targets in the Soviet Union, I doubt that even one way the F-104 would have had the range. Perhaps it was intended to strike any Soviet fleet coming over through Arctic waters.

      It does touch upon the issue of why the Germans are so keen on the F-35. The main alternative, the Eurofighter, is not licensed to carry the B-61 warhead, and the French won’t permit the Dassault Rafale (the other main alternative) for that use, as the US would demand access to the Rafale weapon system software to do that (the French, good allies that they are, know full well this would be a terrible idea).

      Reply
      1. digi_owl

        Oh it was very much used. 19 received in 1963, and further 18 in 1974. And up north it was sometimes referred to as the NATO cow thanks to its distinctive engine sound.

        And yeah, i think the pilots assigned there considered such a second strike mission a suicide run.

        Reply
      2. David

        It was indeed used , but only in small numbers. But I had never heard of it being nuclear certified before, and I’d be interested to know what these documents are.
        It’s quite possible that tactical nuclear strikes would have been launched against the Soviet naval facilities in Murmansk, because on the one hand that’s where the SSBNs were stationed, and on the other, hand, Soviet SSNs, also stationed there, would try to interrupt reinforcements coming across the Atlantic. But the aircraft could not have had strategic role, and I’m surprised to the the F-104 mentioned in this context.

        Norway generally was of great importance strategically during the Cold War, and it was assumed that Soviet forces would try to seize control of the country quickly, precisely to make it easier to get their ships and submarines out.

        Reply
    2. Polar Socialist

      Second strike capability is all about deterrence, and I fail to see the nuclear deterrence works, if it’s hush hush?

      Sounds more like making the Norwegians feel like they mattered. Wasn’t the NATO strategy since the 50’s, in case the Cold War went hot, to position US and UK navies to block the GIUK gap – which would have left Norway pretty much alone to “deal with” the Soviet Northern Fleet?

      Reply
      1. digi_owl

        Best i can tell, second strike is a matter of making the enemy question if they have found them all and can target them. You see this with submarines in particular as their exact current location is top secret but their existence is not.

        And it was more a case of not talking about it in Norwegian politics because of a strong public opinion against nukes, while Norwegian pilots trained on dropping them.

        the soviets very much knew that Norway had the planes, and that they were capable of carrying nukes.

        Reply
    3. JohnA

      Back in the 1980s when you flew into Stavanger airport on the coast, the pilot use to warn that passengers were not allowed to take any photographs. Not sure if it was supposed to be hangars or sub bases built into the rock, but I doubt it was such a secret that passengers on commercial flights could take top secret revealing photos.

      Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “When NYC’s Jewish museum bans DeSantis, it sends a clear message to all Jews”

    In New York this may be seen as a moral victory but I seriously doubt that it will be seen like that in many other places in the country. I hold no brief for DeSantis but this makes him look like that he is being accused of CrimeThink and speech-banning him will only serve to make him look like some kind of hero. It would be far better to bring him into a debate and do a demolition job on his arguments in recorded sessions that can be put up online. And I don’t mean nailing him in Gotcha arguments but really pick apart what his beliefs are and see where they could go in an open debate.

    Reply
  12. PlutoniumKun

    Delusional interpretations on both sides of the Russia-West divide Gilbert Doctorow

    Insightful stuff as usual from Doctorow. I think he is right too about Europe. The political processes of European parliamentary democracies in general and the EU as a whole are painful to watch, and excruciatingly slow to respond to almost any kind of crisis. But Europe has been consistently written off for decades by the Anglosphere and Asian commentators (I can’t recall the link right now, but in Japan in the early 1980’s it was common to refer to Europe as ‘simply a place to go on vacation, nothing more’. This is frequently echoed in Chinese commentary at the moment. Virtually all predictions of impending doom for the core countries of Europe over the past half century or more have been proven wrong.

    There are no guarantees, and right now most European leaders are distinguishing themselves by their delusions and stupidity, but there is a lot of institutional memory to fall back on. Both the US and Russia may find themselves surprised at what happens over the next 12 months or so.

    Reply
    1. Jacob Hatch

      Depends on if France can hang on to it’s neo-colonies in Africa, and how liquid is all that wealth that the Netherlands and Belgum extracted. That’s the pressure point I’d be examining if I was China’s state banker, perhaps working with Russia’s intelligence stocked full of American insurgency weapons.

      Reply
  13. Mikel

    “Leaks raise concern Ukraine will spill into US-Russia proxy war” The Hill.
    The president’s reported dressing down of top military and intelligence officials for leaks that boasted of how U.S. intelligence helped Ukraine kill top Russian generals and sink a battleship underscores the tensions — and the fraying of the administration’s messaging…”

    Those were supposed to be secrets?
    The hodgepodge Ukrainian army taking out generals always sounded more like Hollywood script than reality.
    If you deal in any reality at all…

    People actually believed that fairy tale.

    Reply
    1. Alyosha

      And the dressing down was immediately leaked. But that was probably a good leak to inform Americans that POTUS is on it and in control. Or not. Hard to say since almost everything gets leaked and journalists don’t bother to get multiple source confirmation of what they print. Everything is excused with “sources say” or “someone reported”.

      Reply
      1. Dave in Austin

        I’ve begun to think that these leaks are mid-level officers and unauthorized; guys who know war and are looking at the situation and saying: “If this guy thinks he’s going to get us into a war and not tell anyone, he’s in for a surprise.”

        Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “In shift, Democrats de-link Ukraine aid from COVID-19 money”

    I really doubt that people will even remember the Ukraine by the time that November rocks around and by then there will not be a yellow & blue flag to be seen anywhere. Most people will have their own troubles to deal with such as a new wave of the pandemic, a failing economy, sky-high food and gas bills, etc. But what they will remember is tens, and perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars by then, being thrown at an eastern European country when all that money was vitally needed at home to help out Americans in need and which never came. Donald Trump was a one-term wonder but it needed the full resources of the establishment/media for this to happen. The Democrats will be a one-term wonder but this they will achieve all by themselves.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      The Donkey Show already made off with donation entrance fees, why bother performing for the audience?

      Reply
  15. Mikerw0

    On Albert King & SRV. At that point in time King was late in his career and SRV was still primarily working the club circuit and about to breakout. It is great to see the two of them playing. For those that are too young, no Albert King and no Hendrix, Clapton and all the other rock guitarists that follow.

    Reply
    1. jefemt

      I had the great luck to see Albert King open for Lynrd Skynrd (second album tour) followed by headliner
      Z Z Top.

      I got the blues so bad my face is in a perpetual frown….

      You’ve got to suffer if you want to sing the blues

      Here’s a link to two of the best, exchanging lead and rhythm with sublime sensitivity and talent, in what I believe to be one of the best live performances I have found on the web…. 4 minutes ish

      Further on up the road… Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton Secret Policeman’s Ball

      https://youtu.be/k38RXWa_Ezo

      Reply
    2. SteveB (not Steve B)

      The solo and fills on Cream’s “Strange Brew” are Clapton doing Albert King.

      There is an album of the SRV/King session.. In one slow number SRV plays a King riff note for note..
      and you here King say “hey that sounds familiar” at which point SRV cracks up laughing..
      To say that Stevie borrowed heavily from Albert, is an understatement…

      Close to the time that video was made, SRV played a small club in central Jersey. A friend and I went to the bar right after work and were eating dinner and I was talking about how excited I was to see SRV with the guy sitting next to me…. Soon after they asked to clear the bar for sound check…. I got up to leave and the guy I was talking with said “you can stay”.. I looked at him and he says “they call me “Lonesome”
      I’m Stevie’s roadie…… SRV starting playing by himself….. and I’ll never forget the power and dynamic’s
      of his playing and Soooooooo clean….

      Reply
      1. playon

        The first time I heard Stevie Ray V. was on the David Bowie record “Let’s Dance”. I didn’t know who it was at the time but my initial thought was, “Whoever that is ought to be sending a check to Albert King”. SRV was great (especially later in his career) but he owed a huge debt to both Albert and Jimi Hendrix.

        Reply
  16. PlutoniumKun

    Government threatening to ditch Northern Ireland protocol unless EU backs down Independent (Kevin W)

    Labour gets a bloody nose in Tower Hamlets Counterfire (J-LS)

    Just a few points on this – first of all, the usual Tory playing around with the NI protocol (Brexit hasn’t gone away, y’know). The people of NI made their views very clear – the political parties in favor of the Protocol won by a near 6 to 4 majority (i.e. Sinn Fein, Alliance and SDLP). It could hardly be a clearer message. And yet, here we are, the Tories (this time the truly malign and stupid Lynn Truss) are still playing games with it. The EU may have bigger things on its mind right now, but its pretty clear that this will be met with a very strong series of countermoves if they go ahead with it, and I suspect Biden will be very unhappy with anything that seems to be upsetting the mighty anti-Putin alliance.

    As for the election – for those who don’t know, Tower Hamlets is pretty much a world upon itself. Its the most deprived borough of inner London, with a huge Bangladeshi population. It has its own unique politics. But it does reflect a deeper truth that the left leaning media in the UK has been trying to overlook – the local elections were a disappointment for Labour. Yes, they made big wins, but given the horror show that is the government right now, they should be clearly in front and on the way to being the next government. But they are failing miserably to attract back the elusive working class northern vote. The Tories must not be able to believe their luck that they are facing such an inept opposition.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      Labor seems bent on proving that you CAN beat something with nothing, and its going as a 5 year old with average powers of reasoning would expect.

      Reply
  17. Mikel

    “Delusional interpretations on both sides of the Russia-West divide” Gilbert Doctorow

    Yikes! Doctorow’s argument for why the Russian’s assesment is incorrrct is largely based on Macron winning an election.

    Reply
    1. Kouros

      Yeah, I didn’t buy much the argument plus I also had the feeling that the argument used would in fact maybe move Europe on a pathway not predicted by anyone…

      Reply
  18. tennesseewaltzer

    Thank you so much for the music. Especially today with the superb Albert King and the superb Stevie Ray Vaughan. A much needed antidote to the madness elsewhere.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Watched the same video earlier this evening. Any particular part that you disagree with what he says? Any examples that you can think of?

      Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Nope. I click it and it goes straight to the beginning of that 48:41 minute video. So can you think of something that you disagree with offhand?

          Reply
                1. The Rev Kev

                  His point remains valid however. Scandinavia is more or less a huge demilitarized zone. If Finland and Sweden go into NATO, then all that goes away and Finland alone will have to spend colossal amounts of money to militarize their side of the border. And it will be NATO dictating what Finland has to build and where it has to build it and Finland won’t have a choice. You go into NATO and you give up a big chunk of your sovereignty. And wait till the Russians bring up nukes on their side of the order to match the nukes that NATO will station in Finland. So I ask you. Will Finland be better off in this future?

                  Reply
            1. Polar Socialist

              Well, that was an interesting, foaming of the mouth misrepresentation of Finnish history while blaming someone else not being an expert in it.

              Too bad I don’t have time now to dissect that more, but lets just say that valokaari claims Finland was neutral 1919-1939 and kinda forgets Finland totally closed the border to Soviet Russia, fought an unofficial war in Carelia until 1922 and had a strong anti-Soviet/anti-Communist right wing movement using political violence until 1932 (unsuccessful coup attempt).

              Reply
      1. Jacob Hatch

        “tik history finland” search on youtube will pull up a couple of videos from a libertarian historian (TIK History), who on his history work sticks to documented facts (but in some of his non history opinion pieces leaves me scratching my head). Anyway, he is scrupulous on his documentation, when it comes to history, and shows every sides dirty laundry, specializing in in depth coverage of particular war periods, interspersed with a lot of “mythology” busty videos, particularly busting those spread by NATO owned ex-Nazi’s in the MIC-IMATT. From what I’ve read and heard, Scott Ritter is getting a lot wrong, but so is the commentor RusProp refers, that commentor seems to be fully grounded in Finland’s mythology too.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          > Scott Ritter is getting a lot wrong

          I expect Ritter to get the realpolitik right, which I think he does.

          For the rest, I think I will let the various flavors of irredentist fight it out among themselves.

          Reply
          1. Jacob Hatch

            Yes, I think he does that well enough in some sectors, though I think he’s got far too optimistic a view on the origins of the constitution and our history, it would help him with his analysis, the how as much as the why, if he’d read Madison and it’s other anti-democratic authors.

            Reply
    2. Brian L

      Neither Ritter nor commenter provided any evidence for their assertions regarding WWII history. Ritter’s point was that Finland should not join NATO in the present because it would make them much more insecure. Arguing about details of the past is meant to distract from his message. You can agree or disagree with the main thrust but dismissing Ritter because of some details about WWII which are unknown to me and you (unless you prove otherwise) is mere deflection.

      Reply
    3. RobertC

      Finland’s border with Russia is 830 miles long compared to Ukraine’s 1,280 miles and it’s empty, barren, rugged and cold.

      NATO isn’t going to find its members eager to fund and man a multiple base buildup on that border. The US and Europe are going to be struggling with rebuilding their economies and upgrading their own militaries. Building a meaningful Finland-based threat on the Russian border will be a decade or more away if ever. Cat laugh

      Reply
      1. Jacob Hatch

        Every mile represents a gold mine of legal corruption, Joe is showing Trump how to do it right on Mexico border.

        If you prick a us (Finn (or any EU) Politicians), do we not bleat Putin Puppet?
        if NATO tickles us, do we not drop our pants?
        if MIC bribes us, do we not send our sheeple to die?

        Reply
  19. PlutoniumKun

    How did 81-1 longshot Rich Strike win the Kentucky Derby? Watch this StarTribune (

    I’m sure the good Col. will give his insights into this. I’m not a big racing fan, but that was an amazing race.

    Its not quite as big an outsider, but my mother used to love the story of growing up in an inner urban area in Dublin called Inchicore. In 1946 there was a catholic ‘women’s retreat’ in the local church, and all women (exempting the few in the area who kicked with the other foot’) were expected to attend mass. The priest told the assembled female presence that of course ‘every woman’s dream was a healthy family and a lovely cottage…..’. A murmur went around the church. Apparently, on the weekend, a horse called ‘Lovely Cottage’ was running in the Grand National. Every woman decided that a tip given by a priest was worth its weight in gold. So they all put money on this horse. It won. At 25-1. My mother told me there were five bookies shops in Inchicore before the race, only two were still there the following week.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      I am no expert but do enjoy watching racing, so take this as armchair back seat analysis. The article is accurate that the pace for the front horses was incredibly fast, and unsustainable for many. And Rich Strike was at the back until the final furlong so probably did save a little for that final drive. Where I think the commentary fails and is clear in the drone shot is both how good the jockey is and how much the horse got what he was doing and went with it. this edit actually cut out one portion of the jockey, Sonny Leon, maneuvering Rich Strike through horses in front of him, he had cut in to get past one and then adjust further to the outside to pass a different group before this started, now here you got to see an in and out, they caught in a pack, Leon sees a break to cut back to the rail, which he takes and only then is there a much clearer shot to the front. Leon and Rich Strike not only had to maneuver they had to slow up slightly sometimes to do it. That last drive might have been the fastest, but horses don’t normally like easing up when they start to go multiple times. It is spectacular on the part of both Sonny Leon and Rich Strike.

      And while I am jealous about that superfecta winning ticket, I would love to know how many combinations they had on it and what it cost.

      Reply
        1. orlbucfan

          I agree. That is a jockey and horse who know each other. I wonder why he kept whipping him? To keep him focused?

          Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        99.99984% of the time when a horse’s path gets blocked mid race by other thoroughbreds causing it to slow up, they’re done and momentum lost-stick a fork in em’.

        Not bad for a $30,000 claimer!

        Reply
    2. juno mas

      Rich Strike, a young colt, has won two races. His maiden and the Kentucky Derby, both at Churchill.
      He was a ‘sure thing’!

      Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    Hunter for sale or rent
    IRS bill due loan of 200,000,000 cents
    No talent, no regard, no debts
    I ain’t got no regrets

    Ah, but, pushin’ daddy’s connections too
    Buys a bit of breathing room
    I’m a man of means by no means
    King of the road

    Reply
    1. redleg

      Dang me dang me
      They outta take a rope and hang me
      High from the highest treeeeeeeeee
      Woman don’t you weep for me
      De-doot doot doot doot doot de-ota bimbam boom

      I didn’t change any lyrics because they were fine as is.

      Reply
  21. PlutoniumKun

    It’s Not Too Late. You Can Boost Your Brainpower at Any Age. ConsumerReports

    I usually hate this type of article, but this one is surprisingly good, with lots of solid advice. There is lots of evidence out there that good lifestyle and diet can hugely reduce anyones dementia risk. Eating berries (especially blueberries) and flavoids seem particularly powerful. Anyone who has watched loved ones sink into dementia knows it is something to be avoided at all costs.

    One thing thats very underrated I think is language learning – there is strong evidence that even ‘light’ language learning in old age can very significantly extend your clarity of mind. Given what we may be facing with covid, its all the more important to start on this early.

    Reply
    1. HastalaVictoria

      Absolutely true re; languages.I am 72 and stared Spanish 20 years ago followed by German French and Latin – a subject I ducked around in at school.

      A fact that is true for me and one I tell my Doc whenever I see him is that while we lose our strength ,eyesight etc with age the one faculty that does improve is hearing/comprehension. I listen via Radiogarden – the greatest app ever for languages and one which allows you to tune in to any digital radio station on the globe.Listening every day every month my understanding improves and I guarantee that next month it will be better than now.Go long languages

      Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          I doubt it (maybe Vatican radio?), but the recent Netflix series Barbarians was interesting, the Roman characters all spoke classical Latin. The PolyMathy YT channel had a really interesting review. Metatron, another Latin speaking YTer did a similar one.

          Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks for the heads up on that, I’ve never heard of that app, it sounds great. It can be frustrating finding good podcasts in different languages when you are short of fluency.

        Reply
        1. psv

          Another language site I’ve found really useful is Forvo. It’s a pronunciation site, people contribute pronunciations. Now there are 18 languages with more than 100k pronunciations, and another 11 with > 50k. Well worth a look.

          Reply
  22. pjay

    – ‘The Surprising Backstory of How the Steele Dossier Was Created’ – Wall Street Journal

    Not too surprising for those who have been following this story for the last six years. As usual, the truth about Russiagate slowly trickles out in dribs and drabs long after it will have any effect; the usual slow-motion limited hangout.

    However, this sentence definitely caught my attention, as it seems to illustrate how this will be framed:

    “One remaining riddle is whether the dossier’s misinformation was purely careless or might have included disinformation sown by the Kremlin itself.”

    Note our choices: either the “incompetence” defense, or… *Russian disinformation*! The idea that this was a carefully planned operation involving multiple government actors and their media assets, and that this is *f***ing obvious* by the evidence that has been revealed, is not entertained here.

    No matter. Whatever “carelessness” was displayed with regard to Russiagate, I’m sure the CIA, State Department, and their media stenographers are telling us the Truth about Russia now.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      F-ing obvious indeed. Do they expect us to believe that the “Russians” were playing some sort of eleventy-dimensional chess, where Clinton tells a spook to ask his “Russian” friends to dig up dirt on Trump, but the evil “Russians” instead give the righteous truth seeker Clinton’s factotum some deliberately bad intel in the hopes Clinton runs with it and discredits herself? And that these “Russians” were asked for intel by Clinton knowing they were disreputable “disinformation” pushers from the get-go?

      Occam’s razor would seem to apply here – it was a deliberate and coordinated effort on the part of the Clinton campaign and her friends from the Blob.

      But hey, you never know – maybe Barry O taught Putin the eleventy-dimensional chess when he was staying in the Russian hotel room that Trump’s chippies later micturated upon for his pleasure.

      Reply
    2. Stick'em

      We knew 5 years ago the oppo obtained by GPS Fusion was paid for by attorney Marc Elias of Perkins Coie on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campain and the DNC. Spook/disinfo salesmen Christopher Steele sold Hillary what she wanted to hear.

      To date, no evidence has been presented to the public to support any of the claims made by Hillary Clinton that Trump was “Putin’s Puppet” because there isn’t any.

      https://youtu.be/-qIN1-z_JqQ

      It doesn’t matter whether or not Remington Steele made this info up while watching Boris & Natasha cartoons. There’s no evidence for his claims.

      It was even in the Washington Post:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/clinton-campaign-dnc-paid-for-research-that-led-to-russia-dossier/2017/10/24/226fabf0-b8e4-11e7-a908-a3470754bbb9_story.html?

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > We knew 5 years ago the oppo obtained by GPS Fusion was paid for by attorney Marc Elias of Perkins Coie on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campain and the DNC. Spook/disinfo salesmen Christopher Steele sold Hillary what she wanted to hear.

        > To date, no evidence has been presented to the public to support any of the claims made by Hillary Clinton that Trump was “Putin’s Puppet” because there isn’t any.

        Right on both counts (though not sure about “5 years ago.” 2017?)

        “These are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.” –Deep Throat. I think this applies all the up to the top, and includes Clinton herself.

        Reply
  23. Lexx

    ‘Baby food and autism’

    Only if mom is eating the baby food, gallons of it, and throughout her previous 30+ years till giving birth.

    The truth is that mom is the source of her child’s autism. Dad factors in, and their parents, and going on back to the trunk of the family tree where you’ll probably find a bunch of folks who excelled in the ‘arts and hard sciences’. Autism is both genetic and epigenetic, with environmental factors. It existed loooong before we contaminated the soil, and it is a spectrum. Few are complaining about the quirkiness of those who have been doing most of the intellectual heavy lifting for humanity throughout recorded human history. They are remembered for their contributions to society, not their pickiness at the dinner table.

    Oh, and for some reason, The Spectrum, effects mostly late-in-mom’s life male offspring. Not exclusively, just mostly.

    Okay, let’s agree just for moment that I’m not totally typing out of my buttocks, suspend the need for multiple peer-reviewed citations and let that sink in – it’s dear ol’ ma, proudly preggers with her first child, the one she’s waited for so long (let’s say she’s 35), probably about to have a brilliant child with life long neurological issues, and there’s not (for now) a darn thing she can do about it. She got an education, built a career, found a partner, got all her ducks in a row, did everything right… and waited too long. The tik-tok of her biological clock was even shorter than she knew. This is where ‘environment’ kicks in… while ma was still in her own ma’s womb. I suppose we could allow some room for the heavy metals argument at this stage. Yes, it might have had something to do with the peas and carrots.

    (drops mic…. “Honey, is that bunker door still open?! I’m coming in hot!”)

    Reply
    1. c_heale

      When did baby food become a thing? Surely it’s not hard to mash up or blend some food to make it edible for a baby.

      And what ingredients are causing the shortage? Or is it the manufacturing process, or where it is manufactured?

      Reply
  24. super extra

    climate change anecdote:

    Yesterday in Oklahoma City we kicked off a 10+ day heat wave, with the state currently bisected by a dry line making the west side hotter and drier and the east side densely muggy and only slightly less hot. The current level of humidity is hard to describe – it is so bad that yesterday at noon helicopters flying around over the city had low visibility like in fog because so much moisture is in the air. Normally in these conditions I’d expect a good storm to cool things off for a few days but we only get one or two days below 90 before it goes back up again.

    Last week we had 3 major tornado-spawning supercell storms. Most of them had a weird pattrn I don’t remember from before, where they spun up out of relatively cool conditions and the dry line behind them was also cooler than normal. Big tornadoes spinning up out of cooler weather is very, very unsettling to me. I’ve always relied on weather like the last two days to predict the really bad storms. But they’re not predicting anything crazy for tonight, so we’ll see if it breaks the humidity at least.

    Reply
    1. Lexx

      I’ve only passed out twice in my life, both times from high humidity, and one of them was in Ponca City. When I came to, my cousin gave me a salt tablet and two minutes later I barfed into the kitchen sink. She was used to the humidity; we were visiting from Washington state. After the barfing it occurred to her to turn on the air-conditioning.

      Gawd awful humidity there coming off the Gulf.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        One time Humordor tried to kill via humidity, and it was eerily similar to a near death experience in Houston, or was it hell?

        I heard an apocryphal tale of somebody from Cali where it was thought he’d been raptured back east in our Nation’s Capitol, as there was only a clump of clothing where he once stood on the periphery of the Iwo Jima statue.

        Bake me in 105 dry heat under the shade of Cottonwoods and a very out of place Incense Cedar @ our swimming hole, and it’s a doable 85 degrees.

        Reply
      2. super extra

        Yeah, the humidity can be a shock to those from the dry side of the continent (and to us after a dry phase since we’re right at the dry/humid terminator for the country in general). The notoriously tight-fisted family member in charge of the thermostat setting has bumped the setting down two whole degrees because it has even gotten to them. That’s how I know it’s serious!

        Reply
    2. griffen

      As a former resident of North Texas and Dallas, I can attest to the occasional and wild weather changes. Hottest place I have ever lived, at least in the heat of summer during July to August.

      While the location is Tulsa, the annual PGA Championship is being waged starting May 19 at the historic Southern Hills. I’m sure the baking of the pro golfers, volunteers and attendees will not go without comment.

      Reply
  25. flora

    re: Navy stonewalls Congress.
    Does Congress actually set the budget anymore, or is that done elsewhere by others behind the scenes. You generally don’t stonewall your paymaster.

    re: report SC justice flees home.
    Hey, it’s the summer just before the elections, therefore its time once again for some Dem adjacent rioting: 2018 – Charlottesville, 2020-Floyd, 2022- ? / ;)
    https://www.mediaite.com/politics/barack-michelle-obama-call-for-protests-over-roe-v-wade-overturning-puts-women-at-mercy-of-politicians-and-ideologues/

    Reply
    1. Jacob Hatch

      “Does Congress actually set the budget anymore, or is that done elsewhere by others behind the scenes. You generally don’t stonewall your paymaster.”
      The MIC-IMATT are the paymasters, and once you remember that then you will see are right; you don’t stonewall them. Hence the decoupling of COVID funding from the 40 Billion to Ukraine so passage won’t be delayed.

      Reply
    2. Screwball

      From the same guy in 2007 who told planned parenthood the first thing he would do as president would would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which effectively codifies Roe v. Wade.

      Maybe it’s just me, but an X-president calling for protests just doesn’t seem like a good thing. To play the typical game – what if Trump… No worries, it’s OK when “our” side does it.

      The Obama’s seem to be like Clinton – they just won’t go away. May I suggest you reconsider.

      Reply
      1. flora

        Thomas Frank had a great October 2020 article in LeMonde. (paywalled)

        America, the panic room

        Both political parties in the US believe the other side is plotting a takeover of the nation that will end American democracy. The panic, fear, ranting and scolding has reached unbearable levels.

        https://mondediplo.com/2020/10/04usa

        From the opening paras:

        ….I would climb on my bicycle and ride the silent byways of what is probably the most beautiful city in America [Kansas City], and when I had completed my exercise I would turn on Twitter and grab the newspaper out of the driveway and…

        Bang. There it would be, just like the day before: panic, confusion, accusation, denunciation. Videos of people yelling at each other in public, of people brandishing firearms, of people driving cars through crowds of protesters, of people hysterically reciting passages from the nation’s founding documents as they tried to cling to sanity.

        New symptoms of degeneration every day, and above them all, the growing feeling that no one really knows what the hell is going on.

        Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            It blows my mind that such a thoughtful, engaging and occasionally quite brilliant public intellectual can get sidelined so effectively. Especially in a world where Thomas Friedman (you could list any number of alternatives) is taken seriously and given a major platform.

            Reply
      2. flora

        adding: I take your point. I’d sum it up as “Dems protest and/or riot soon before the elections, the GOP protest and/or riot soon after the elections.”

        For the GOP, see the 2000 Florida vote-counting riots leading to Bush v Gore. (or was it Gore v Bush) Then there was the Jan 6 2021 protest/riot after T lost. / ;)

        Reply
  26. NYG

    The proxy war:
    Ukraine.
    All the money, weapons, economic sanctions, and non stop anti Russia propaganda in support of Ukraine have not produced victory and and are unlikely to stop Russia from capturing the entire Avov and Black Sea shore areas. Without sovereignty over its shoreline Ukraine’s export economy would be dependent on Russian permission unless the US chooses to allocate a portion of its budget to an airlift to and from Germany combined with a ground delivery system to and from Ukraine.

    Russia,
    After almost 3 months of fighting its apparent that Russia’s conventional military shortfalls reflect the limits that peacetime spending has imposed upon it. It is not comparable to its US military superpower counterpart. But It is the height of folly to presume that Russia would not resort to weapons systems that are on par with the US to preserve itself. Omitted in the west’s coverage of Russia’s May 9 celebration was the fact that Putin’s security guard appears to be carrying his Nuclear Code football device. Is that new?

    US/NATO,
    The sanction system, as applied, would allow the US/EU years to develop alternate supplies of essential raw materials while weakening Russia, destroying its economy and preserving the viability of their own economies. But Russia has found alternate markets for its raw materials a lot sooner. If Russia no longer needs to sell to the EU will the US save EU countries from collapse?

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The current fighting in Ukraine has been significantly done by the DNR/LNR militias, with added Chechen forces and Russian artillery support. Russian Federation troops did execute the initial six prongs into Ukraine, presumably in hope of getting Ukraine to negotiate (which they actually did in the Istanbul meetings of March 30-31 but then the US and UK got them to repudiate their positions). The most important one was to pin troops around Kiev; they also placed troops around Odessa.

      Russia is going slowly, which is getting maddening even a bit to the Russians, but the Ukrainians have bunkers in Donbass second only to those in North Korea. So the best course is to encircle the and the related force concentrations and starve them of resupply. Any other way of going about it is wasteful in men and materiel.

      Reply
  27. Michael Ismoe

    Sri Lanka PM resigns, Rajapaksa family home burnt down amid clashes:

    Now that’s the way to protest. If you are going to Alito’s house anyway, why just mill around?

    Reply
    1. flora

      Um… no. The joke “banana republic” should remain a joke and nothing more. (And yes, I know you’re joking, but things are getting crazy.)

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        “Gosh darn it, Ismoe, we were trying to put on an exciting puppet show for the kids, to get them in a better mood after we spent their doctor money on fireworks, and here you are trying to wreck the stage.”

        Reply
  28. Louis Fyne

    –Sky News Stops Interview With Russian Diplomat Over Mention of Zelensky Posting SS Symbol Sputnik. Rev Kev saw the clip which has apparently been yanked since. But it still lives on Twitter:—

    here is the photo in question, judge for yourself https://t.me/intelslava/28386

    this has been happening constantly. Beyond stuff posted from UA, ignorant western social media managers posting what they think are innocuous UA shots and lo and behold, soldiers have literal N-word iconography in the frame.

    if you are ever in Lviv, stop by one of the many stephan bandera monuments

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g295377-d16783455-Reviews-Monument_to_Stepan_Bandera-Lviv_Lviv_Oblast.html

    Reply
    1. Anthony G Stegman

      In the United States knowledge of the Holocaust is limited. Most Americans have no idea of the role Ukrainian (as well as Latvian) nationalists played in the mass murder of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, as well as Russia prisoners of war. Putin knows this history very well.

      Reply
  29. WhoaMolly

    Re: There is a highly disturbing must-listen section on the F-35A starting at 41:00. Oh, per Glen in Water Cooler, turns out original vid is on Bitchute.

    I served as a communications specialist during the cold war. Every site I worked at was a high priority target.

    Ritter is *exactly* right about how targeting packages work.

    It shook me deeply to learn the F35A details.

    THIS IS MADNESS!

    Reply
  30. Jason Boxman

    Indeed, if not for anti-democratic institutions such as the Senate and the Electoral College, it’s likely that Democrats would control a majority of the seats on the Supreme Court, and a decision overruling Roe would not be on the table.

    That’s quite the counter-factual there. Here’s another: If liberal Democrats delivered, ever, when in power, they might have a majority of seats on the Court.

    Blaming the rules of the game, known since the country’s founding, for liberal Democrat electoral failures, seems far fetched.

    Never mentions Citizens United, either, oddly. Ultimately the author blames Court decisions limiting voting for liberal Democrats failing at politics. Odd.

    https://www.vox.com/2022/5/3/23055427/supreme-court-abortion-alito-dobbs-roe-wade-voting-race

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Hard to take an article seriously when it goes out of its way to twist the facts –

      “There have only been three justices in American history who were appointed by a president who lost the popular vote, and who were confirmed by a bloc of senators who represent less than half the country. All three of them sit on the Supreme Court right now, and all three were appointed by Donald Trump.”

      I guess it’s the added “bloc of senators” condition that makes it true for the Trump-deranged author, but both Roberts and Alito, the guy leading the charge here, were appointed by a president who didn’t win the popular vote, and the fact that there were more senators willing to confirm someone like Alito at the time doesn’t really make it better.

      Meanwhile George W is now the kindly, avuncular elder statesman according to today’s Democrat party.

      Reply
  31. PlutoniumKun

    Dictator’s son a front-runner as Filipinos elect next leader Associated Press

    Very depressing news to see a Marcos is back. And he is, apparently, a chip off the old block, a really nasty and corrupt piece of work. There isn’t even the excuse that there was no alternative – the runner up is a well known anti-poverty campaigner Leni Robredo.

    Reply
    1. anon y'mouse

      Philippines is our property for over 100 years, and we’ll do what we like.

      we’ll have no anti-poverty advocates there.

      no one can convince me that we don’t produce the rulers in that country. probably far more than we do in Puerto Rico.

      Reply
  32. Patrick Donnelly

    USA has long wanted full control over KSA. It is merely a family that wandered the desert, that were elevated by circumstance and expedience to control the cheapest oil in the world.

    9/11 was planned, but not by Tim Osman, a loyal agent of the CIA, with strong connections to the KSA. 23 passports appeared at the scene of the WTC towers, pulled that day.

    No, Israel was not responsible, but they too are part of a web that yet may be revealed.

    Long term planning … big payoff …

    Reply
  33. Wukchumni

    Dateline: Lake Mead

    The Las Vegas economy was found sunk in a now dried up area of the man-made lake, emerging from having the worst possible Covid business model, where complete strangers mingle close to one another.

    Authorities think the corpus derelicti is from around the turn of the century when the lake was almost full.

    Reply
    1. WhoaMolly

      Serious question:

      What are chances of towns, cities, entire regions being abandoned because no water?

      I’m in Northern California and it looks to me like most of the towns in Mendocino County are running out of water.

      The Russian River is a trickle compared to its normal level. The only big source of water would be desalinized ocean water—probably powered by nuclear reactors—but nothing is being done on this massive need.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        It’s a real likelihood towns will wither up and die, everybody has noticed surface water ain’t what it used to be, and nothing has really been done to allay concerns by coming up with a plan B. I quoted Adlai Stevenson from 1952 the other day talking about desalination to an audience in LA. Yes, it has downsides and uses a lot of energy, but why nearly nothing has been done is a travesty.

        The last drought in 2012-2016, East Porterville was the poster child for running out of water, and it was a bit of a ruse in that it was the poor part of Porterville (say that 5x quick!) and the wells were 50-100 feet deep and many ran out of water.

        Reply
  34. Ranger Rick

    Low-cost internet access. The conspiracy theorist in me immediately assumes this is about data collection and tracking of people who would otherwise slip through the net (see the Obama-era subsidized cellphones, the ongoing “unbanked” emergency).

    Reply
  35. Wukchumni

    I’ve had F-35’s overhead emanating out of NAS Lemoore much of the morning and to the credit of the Edsel of the air-they can still get it up.

    Reply
    1. Rainlover

      Likewise, Wukchumni. Ours are from Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma. Lots of noisy flights this morning including helicopters. I wonder what has stirred the hornet’s nest.

      Reply
  36. Irrational

    I find it stunning that the Politico story on joint EU borrowing to fund Ukraine is not getting more traction.
    The EU does have a program called “Macrofinancial Assistance” (MFA) to support non-EU countries typically about to enter or in an IMF program to the tune of 1 bn or so, tops (in fact the European Parliament recently approved EUR 1.2 bn for Ukraine).
    The entire MFA budget for the current EU budget period 2021-2027 is 13 billion.
    The first time joint borrowing was authorised on a big scale was for the Next Generation EU package (EU COVID response).
    Borrowing up to 15 billion to support Ukraine is definitely nailing your flag to the mast – so much so that I worry that it will get into the way of any change of narrative of the sort mentioned by David in various post comments yesterday.

    Reply
  37. Anonymous 2

    Regarding restrictions on protests in the UK, more concerning still are the voting suppression measures which have been passed. In future voters will have to show photo ID. This is designed to discourage the poor and the young from voting, who are unsurprisingly thought more likely to vote against the Tories. The UK, IMO, is slowly being turned into a fascist state.

    Reply
  38. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Vladimir Putin Address to Victory Parade on Red Square – May 9, 2022 – English Subtitles YouTube. Short, but if you are impatient, transcript here.”

    “Let me repeat, we saw the military infrastructure being built up, hundreds of foreign advisors starting work, and regular supplies of cutting-edge weaponry being delivered from NATO countries. The threat grew every day.”

    Where action has met predictable reaction, is that too much truth for the Western MSM? Wll such scandalous observations be allowed to be repeated openly, or will there be dead silence and the forgetting of the memory hole?

    Or is it time to simply “Turn off your mind, relax, and float down stream”?

    Reply
    1. Acacia

      is that too much truth for the Western MSM?

      Evidently yes, as “you can’t handle the Putin.”

      Reply
  39. Maritimer

    The Dutch Tax Authority Was Felled by AI—What Comes Next? SpectrumIEEE (David L)
    ********
    No takers from the commentariat on this story about AI:

    “As the dust settles, it’s clear that the affair will do little to halt the spread of AI in governments—60 countries already have national AI initiatives. Private-sector companies no doubt see opportunity in helping the public sector. For all of them, the tale of the Dutch algorithm—deployed in an E.U. country with strong regulations, rule of law, and relatively accountable institutions—serves as a warning.”

    Not to mention 3000 Bills on the AI loose, many with skin in the AI Game.

    In other important news: a hoss won a race in Kentucky!

    Reply
  40. solarjay

    Ukraine war:
    I don’t know if Scott Ritter is right, or Col Doug Macgregor, or Lawrence Wilkerson or the few other people providing some counter views/expertise about the war in Ukraine.
    What I do know is that I’m don’t believe the US generals, Government or MSM.
    The same people who banned anyone on Youtube etc for mentioning this was a real/proxy war, now its openly talked about by Dems on TV. Will they get their shows back?
    Who ignore the actual Ukraine history from the last 10 years.
    That we had to invade Afghanistan.
    The same ones that for 20 years told us we were winning in Afghanistan and then that the Afghan govt would last for 2 years and they lasted for 2 days.
    The same ones that buried the Afghan papers
    That Iraq had WMD, of which Ritter was right there for that.
    Incubator babies in Kuwait, sold to us by the Kuwait Ambassador to the US’s daughter
    Libya
    Iran
    Venezuela
    Chile
    Peru
    And it goes on.

    And maybe like many of you, to talk about this, to even bring this up, is not possible to people to watch MSM, or read MSM, they think I’m a Putin sympathizer.

    I shouldn’t even bore any of you with this, but its beyond scary to me. There is no peace movement, and if there was as one, its been destroyed before its even gotten started.
    So this was the reason to get out of Afghanistan, to go to war with Russia.

    Thanks for all the education and insights.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether

      > this was the reason to get out of Afghanistan, to go to war with Russia

      Sure looks like it. We abandoned a ton of weaponry in Afghanistan, too; too bad we couldn’t have airlifted it right into Ukraine. Waste not, want not and all that.

      Reply
    1. Lambert Strether

      > shocked, shocked

      Last two paragraphs, boilerplate for a new conventional wisdom:

      As of Friday, new COVID-19 cases have doubled in the last month “as Omicron subvariants have spread across the country,” according to the New York Times coronavirus case tracker.

      On top of that, positive results are going up in all of the states and territories except seven, the tracker added.

      Of course, NC readers knew this was coming [lambert preens].

      Reply
  41. The Rev Kev

    “US Navy Stonewalls Congress In Working Ship Reports”

    After reading this and other articles, I think that the conclusion is that the US Navy is incapable of fighting a long war. As an organization it now has no deep bench so will be quickly worn down in a fight. I thought that it was just ice-breakers and the US Coast Guard but this article makes plain that it is also true of the US Navy as they chose to deliberately ran down their sinew as well as muscle. It would be better if they cancelled a Ford-class carrier and actually ordered the Navy to use the money to get the ships that are actually needed for the running of a world-class navy.

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      A few days ago I came across this article in USNI News which says Marines would also prefer a working Navy.

      Or at least one that can get them where they need to be.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether

      > the US Navy is incapable of fighting a long war

      And then there’s the Seventh Fleet, plagued by corruption*, whose ships keep colliding**.

      * And you can bet China noticed; that’s why I cited to the SCMP.

      ** Headline: “After McCain, Fitzgerald collision reports, Navy says it’s focused on ‘fundamentals’ of warfighting.” Oh. What were they focused on before?

      Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      This is the fundamental problem with a geopolitical strategy that assumes full spectrum dominance and hegemony. There is literally no limit to the number of ships, aircraft and tanks that you need. Every item of equipment gets sent to somewhere on the basis of a theoretical need, so there is an immediate demand for new equipment to fill whatever unforseen conflict arises. As soon as you have a surplus in stock, someone can come up with a justification for sending it off to some Pacific Island, or Africa, or wherever. So you have this continuous cycle of more ships, planes and tanks being built, while simultaneously never having enough of them to deal with a real conflict.

      The one thing Biden has done right is state baldly that there are limits to US military power, and sometimes this constrains possible actions. This is completely anathema to neocons, who are ideologues who refuse to accept the existence of physical capacity constraints. It seems impossible for the system itself to articulate the limits and goals of military expenditure, and fit this within budgetary constraints. Which means of course, that the system itself is out of control.

      Reply

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